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WithIt Announces 2011 WOW Awards Honorees

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WithIt presented its 2011 WOW Awards honors during the nonprofit’s annual dinner and reception tonight. Considered one of the home and furnishings industries’ highest honors, WOW Awards recognize the leadership achievements of exemplary individuals and/or companies who embody the organization’s mission.

Aminy Audi, CEO and president of L. & J.G. Stickley, was presented the 2011 Legacy Award, which celebrates Audi’s significant lifetime contributions to the home and furnishings industry.

“As I accept this award, I want to acknowledge my late husband, Alfred, with whom I was fortunate enough to share the journey of revitalizing the Stickley brand,” Audi said. “For the Stickley team, no task is impossible, no deadline is unattainable and no mountain is to high to climb.”

Connie Lineberry, vice president of marketing, Sandow Media Retail Group, earned the inaugural Leadership Award, an honor WithIt created to recognize the contributions of a woman over age 40 who has demonstrated successful leadership in her company, WithIt and/or the home furnishings industry.

“At Furniture Today, Connie created a Marketing Services Department that today serves more than 450 companies in the furniture, accessory, textiles and gift industries,” said Tom Mitchell, president of home furnishings for International Market Centers. Mitchell presented the award to Lineberry. “She has become known as the go‐to person in the industry for the ‘next big idea’,” he added.

Lauren West, director of communications for Natuzzi Americas Inc., earned the 2011 Education Award honor for her efforts to educate associates, retailers and/or consumers about home furnishings.

Brad Cates, senior vice president for Natuzzi Group, presented the award to West.

“Lauren’s educational experience in this industry is wide ranging,” Cates said. “She developed and implemented our company’s retail sales training system, which has trained 2400 associates to date. Plus, she works with students during markets and educates the consumer through social and online media channels.”

Peggy Burns, the “Queen Bee” of Circle Furniture, was
awarded the 2011 Mentoring Award. It’s an honor that recognizes an executive who has fostered advocacy, development or promotion of women in his or her company. Burns’ husband and business partner, Richard Tubman, presented the award.

“Peggy puts her heart and soul into everything she does, and this is most apparent in the way she helps others to reach their potential,” Tubman said.

The 2011 Future Leader Award was presented to Tammy Nagem, chief operating officer of the High Point Market Authority. Kevin O’Connor with Samson Marketing presented Nagem’s award.

“Tammy has made significant operational improvements so that the logistics of the show are effortless, and the concentration is placed on the real focus of the High Point Market—new home furnishings products and trends,” O’Connor said. “I doubt if there are many in this industry who work with as many diverse constituencies in performing their job as Tammy does: city and state officials, civic groups, service providers, manufacturers, building owners, retailers and more.”

WithIt President Mary Leigh Howell, Howell Communications, presented the 2011 President’s Award to WithIt Regional Vice President Kassie Smith of Kassie Smith Lifestyle Group.

“In a region where WithIt had little support and virtually no membership base, Kassie has developed sponsors and supporters, and built a strong member network that spans the home furnishings, design and hospitality industries,” Howell said.

Lastly, WithIt announced the winner of the 2011 Jena and Stephen Hall Scholarship, which awards $5,000 to a student to cover tuition expense. Breanne Lutz, who studies interior design at Meredith College, earned the coveted honor.

WithIt thanks the sponsors of the 2011 WOW Awards: High Point Market Authority, International Market Centers, Vaughn‐Bassett Furniture, Las Vegas Design Center,Valdese Weavers, Cohen Tauber Spievack & Wagner P.C., Info Retail, L. & J.G. Stickley, Hutchinson Allgood Printing, C.R. Laine Furniture, Rowe Fine Furniture, Furniture/Today and Natuzzi Americas.

WithIt, founded in 1997, is a North American women’s leadership development network in the home and furnishings industries. The nonprofit’s annual National Membership Day is Nov. 8. WithIt headquarters: 2125 Eastchester Drive, Suite 103, High Point, NC, 27265.


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